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Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Calls for Talks with India

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar arrives to speak at a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, speaking in New York Wednesday, called for talks with her Indian counterpart to defuse tensions along the two countries' de facto border in Kashmir.

Foreign Minister Khar accused India of “war mongering” this week, after India’s prime minister denounced Pakistan for the killing of two Indian soldiers near the line of control, or LOC, that separates the two sides in Kashmir. However, Khar said Wednesday she still believes dialogue must be the means to resolve this or any issue.

“We will be open to a discussion, a dialogue at the level of the foreign minister, to be able to resolve the issue of cross-LOC incidents and also to recommit ourselves to respect for the cease-fire, because Pakistan is fully committed to respect for the cease-fire of 2003,” Khar said.

The Pakistan foreign minister made her remarks during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations, a foreign policy study group based in New York. Pakistan and India have fought two wars over Kashmir.

Questioned about U.S. drone strikes against Taliban militants in Pakistan, Khar repeated her country’s contention that the strikes are illegal and counterproductive. She went on to indicate that the United States and Pakistan have, as she put it, come a long way on many issues. However, she said they continue to disagree about the drone flights.

“However, we feel that we are moving closer and closer to reaching a point where the American perspective is becoming closer and closer to Pakistan’s. So we have hope there, and we continue to engage with them intensively,” Khar said.

Khar said that on each of the points where the U.S. and Pakistan disagree, “We have come a long way to move together." And, she went on, “this happens to be one of them.”

U.S. officials have not officially confirmed the use of unmanned aircraft against militants sheltering in Pakistan, but they are seen as crucial to the fight against militants.